5.14.2010

Another Robin Goes Home

We last wrote that Cappy's great-aunt Helen went to be with The Lord and her family on Mother's Day. Cappy has been inconsolible ever since. "Aunt Helen was the last of a generation. She was strong and always there; it's impossible to think that she's gone." She's the sister of his grandmother, one of whom Cappy lovingly referred to as "the old chickens". He says they were a fiesty lot, always 'up' to something, laughing, gossiping, playing booray, just full of life. They were such a joy to him and to all of the family. We only heard that she was in the hospital the day before Mothers's Day, and passed the next morning. So quickly. So suddenly. Cappy said it didn't surprise him one bit, because Aunt Helen was a strong woman and it was just like her not to complain and to just 'tough it out'.
I visited with her grandson, Brennan, who said he was grateful that he'd gotten to spend that last day with her. Even tho's she'd apparently had pancreatic cancer, no one was aware of it, that she hadn't been in pain at all, even til the end. In fact, Brennan said that, that last day while he visited her in the hospital she noticed his sadness and asked, with concern in her voice, "What's wrong, baby?" She, even then, was more worried about him.He said she was the most loving, caring grandmother he could imagine.
I didn't know her for very long, but I kinda got the idea that in her prime she was kinda fiesty, like my own grandmother. Cappy loves to tell about how she was kind of a tough cookie. She was a school cafeteria cook, who had to stand on her feet all day, work hard and wasn't about to put up with any nonsense from bratty kids; and who could blame her. Her daughter Carolyn laughingly told me that the other kitchen workers said, "We can always tell when Helen is here", because instead of gently pushing the chairs back in under the tables, Aunt Helen would slam them. I say any way she had at her disposal to intimidate misbehaving kids without actually coralling them by the the scruff of the neck was well done :-D
Unfortunatly, because of the long hours of work, her knees began to bother her so badly that Cappy said "her legs were bowed so much that they looked like parentheses." After suffering for years, when she was seventy years old, she decided to have both of her knees replaced. Cappy, shocked, said, "Aunt Helen, you are going to have major surgery like that at your age?" She lambasted him right back with, "What do you mean my age??? " She went ahead and had the surgery and to his delight, she was "dancin' around like nothin' had ever been wrong with her after that; she's one tough ol' gal".
And of course, being a professional cook, you know her food was something pretty special. Cappy said that one of the most delicious things he could remember was 'leftover jelly'. He said, Aunt Helen, not being one to waste anything, would save all the leftover juices, when they were serving canned fruit at school. Normally all the juice would be poured down the sink afterward. Instead, she, her sister and Aunt Gussie would then make it into jelly. Sometimes they would blend all the different fruit juices into one, so the taste would vary, but he said that no matter how it turned out, it was always out of this world! (She'll probably be serving it to folks in Heaven then.)
Brennan got to spend a lot of time at his grandparents house, especially when there was an LSU game going on. While Brennan's parents were season ticket holders, he'd spend the day with Grandpa Nick and his "MawMaw" listening to the game on the radio. I know he had more fun there than he ever would have in the actual stadium, for he said so himself, and let Aunt Helen know on her last day on earth, that those hours around the radio were some of the best times of his whole life.
During the service for Aunt Helen, I was struck by one thing that the priest said during his homily. He mentioned that when people are ill, they are 'living on borrowed time', but then he said, "In actuality, since the time that each of us has, has only been lent to us by God, we are all living on borrowed time; we only have it for a short while. I found that to be inspiring and comforting. Aunt Helen spent 87 years of her time here on earth loving her family and friends, and then last Sunday on Mothers' Day, The Lord thought it was the perfect day to come and lead her Home to be with the rest of those who are already there waiting for her.
I absolutely love this song, which was sung at Aunt Helen's funeral. I always 'see' those who are leaving us with different eyes when I hear it. I know it's what He said to Aunt Helen, and what will be said to me and to each one of us during our time of Going Home. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vMYP4uJAqY&feature=related
And now she's not one of the Robin Family "ol' chickens"; Aunt Helen is now once again a Spring Chicken, and you know she's using those new knees of hers to kneel in the Presence of her Lord!
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